Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), organized in 1969, is the regional authority operating public transit services in 8 of the 12 counties surrounding Denver, Colorado. It operates a bus and light rail system that has a service area of 2,337 square miles.
RTD provides safe, clean, courteous, and cost-effective transportation services to the public, and it relies on cost-effective technology to assist it in doing so. RTD runs many critical-business systems on Oracle, including its Oracle E-Business Suite environment, as well as security, dispatch and control, and other systems. The organization’s IT environment was growing rapidly, and would continue to accelerate as it prepared for a US$6 billion expansion to its rail lines in the coming years.
As RTD began to plan for an upgrade to Oracle E-Business System Release 12, it faced some acute challenges. Its 12 IBM database servers were nearing end of life, and the organization was running low on storage area network (SAN) capacity. In addition, new and existing business demands for storage and processing power were growing too rapidly to manage well, and the organization projected that its disk storage requirements would grow 40-fold in the next 10 years. To meet operational requirements, RTD’s business applications increasingly required higher availability and recovery capabilities. The organization was also concerned about the cost of managing its rapidly growing environment, including an expanding need for database administrator (DBA) resources, which are expensive and increasingly difficult to find.
RTD’s IT department was also going through organizational restructuring to better align services and capabilities with the business. That meant establishing a shared services group responsible for all IT infrastructure, including databases.
To support its changing IT requirements, RTD is migrating its core business systems to Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2, running on Oracle Linux. The Oracle system provides a secure environment to support the migration of RTD’s online transaction processing workloads while enabling the organization to deploy a data warehouse without the need for a separate environment. Oracle Exadata is also simplifying RTD’s infrastructure dependencies, as the storage, operating system, and software are in a single integrated system that streamlines administration, patching, and monitoring. Further, RTD no longer requires SAN or network-attached storage, reducing overhead for fiber channel switches and storage cards in each server.
With the move to Oracle Exadata, RTD is consolidating the vendors it works with and reducing the management tools required to support its database platforms from four to one. By 2013, it will have reduced its number of database servers from 12 to 3, representing a four-fold decrease in operations and management requirements. It will also reduce complexity and risk by eliminating 50% of the server-to-server interfaces.
RTD is already realizing a two-fold gain in data compression out of the box. It also has achieved performance improvements of two- to three-fold for database backups, clones, and refreshes, as well as long-running processes—such as Gather Schema Statistics—for Oracle E-Business Suite. In the future, RTD looks to use Oracle Exadata’s Automatic Storage Management (ASM) and Flash Recovery Area (FRA) capabilities to speed up these processes even further.
With Oracle Exadata, RTD has realized a six-fold performance improvement in its payroll processing. In addition, it runs its Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition data warehouse on Oracle Exadata. The system provides expanded insight into critical business data, such as the state of assets on which RTD must report to the federal government. RTD also uses its Oracle Business Intelligence environment to analyze various funding scenarios.
RTD is moving its Oracle E-Business Suite environment to Oracle Exadata, which is expected to go into production later this year.
“Eighteen months ago, Oracle was the best option for us, and it still is. It is a unique solution, as it is better, faster, and more efficient than other vendors’ solutions” said Trent Ratcliff, senior manager, information technology, Denver Regional Transportation District.
“Deploying Oracle Exadata Database Machine was amazingly easy because everything is optimized for Oracle,” Ratcliff said. “The Oracle Exadata software is really great and easy to work with and definitely an advantage. Overall, Oracle Exadata required little to no tuning, and we had the system set up, out of the box, in less than a day by working with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services. In just one week, we had the system in service, helping to speed the time to value for our organization. You can’t beat that.”